I could barely go through with doing this, because knowing in the end, I’d have to do the death of some of the Gaang. Thanks to Liz for helping on the headline ideas! …and to bad you can’t see the miniature Air Temple Island in flames… *sigh*
"Aang's a bad dad!" - Another Take on the Cloudbaby Family
Growing up with important parents is hard.
And Katara and Aang were both incredibly important people. They overthrew a monarchy, ended a war, and saved the world from destruction all before the age of 16. As adults, Aang’s place as the Avatar guaranteed their involvement in future world affairs, and the two went on to found a new nation of people and build an entire city based on their ideals.
As their children, it makes sense that Bumi, Kya, and Tenzin feel compelled to live up to the high precedent their parents set. Aang left a huge legacy in the world, and all three of his children want to do their best to live up to that standard. They want to be the same sort of people their parents were, they want to be successful and do good in the world, and they want to shape the lives of others as their parents once did. And they place an inordinate amount of pressure on themselves to do so.
There’s a saying that states there’s two different ways to dehumanize someone– by dismissing or idealizing them. When you take the good traits of an individual and place them in a vacuum, you forget the humanity that made that person so exceptional in the first place. This is something Tenzin does, and something we, as fans of a character, tend to do, too. But I think it’s important to recognize context and character relevancy if you want to understand why specific traits and events are highlighted within the narrative.
As such, I feel the knee-jerk reaction to dismiss Aang as a terrible father misses the point of the siblings’ interactions. Tenzin, Kya, and Bumi’s issues don’t lie in bad parenting- they lie in each other, and within themselves.